Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A tragic Hollywood trend - Suicide

It’s been nearly a week since the news broke about the death of actor Heath Ledger. As with most high profile deaths you can’t watch the news or read a newspaper without the constant speculation and most intricate details of his life and death.

While his death, I admit was tragic, there is something more at stake here. Suicide! While not official, the assumption is there and the repercussions need to be looked at.

In the last few years there have been other actors/actresses that have died due to “Drug Overdoses,” and to watch the news it is the “Hollywood” thing to do. Anna Nicole Smith, Her son, Brittney Spears, Owen Wilson, Heath Ledger and the list goes on. They have all take a walk down a road that has a very tragic end. There are those who have been lucky and survived, then go into treatment – that many in the public see as pointless.

I give this overview for a reason – suicide is the result of some feeling of unworthiness, hopelessness, and other personal issues. Those in the public eye, while they seem to have it all, underneath are sad, in need of acceptance and at times a reality check. As their lives played out in magazines, TV and on film they have no more secrets, no privacy and nowhere to turn. A simple weekend away can become tabloid front page news, while a trip to the grocery store makes the worst dressed list.

Think of yourself, what would you do in these situations? If you’re every move, breath and meal was scrutinized in front of the whole world.

I was reading another blog the other day that focused on the topic of Heath Ledger’s death and gave a different take on it – the reality of what the effect of Ledger’s death could lead too.

“First of all, suicide is more common among young people, and 80% of the people who commit suicide are male.

Okay, so Heath Ledger broke the mold by choosing poisoning (8% of cases) over a gun (47%).

From watching the glories of CNN Primetime every night, we can also see that a) Celebrities are crazy, and b) Hollywood isn't what it's all cut out to be. So again, suicidal celebrities? No surprise. Last year in august, Owen Wilson also tried killing himself.

So now we've got a nation of teen/preteen girls (and possibly boys) grieving over an (at least somewhat expected) death, and the story will be in the news outlets for at least a week.”
Read the full story here.

The issue in this case, in the aftermath of the discovering of Ledger’s body, is being honest with those who feel they have lost a friend of theirs, who feel they were touched personally by him through his movies. For some, the death of a star can bring depression and some articles will say, lead to “Copy Cat suicides.”

While Hollywood has brought us a lot of fads and memorable moments – this shouldn’t be one of them!